Make that three in a row for the New York Jets.
The Jets earned their first road victory of 2017 with a win over Cleveland on Sunday, but it wasn’t the prettiest. In fact, it may have been the ugliest game of the year as both teams struggled mightily.
The first half looked a little like this:
Jets-Browns is transcendent pic.twitter.com/if2fyEH6PX
— Riley McAtee (@Riley_McAtee) October 8, 2017
Brutal play for both teams as the Jets couldn’t get their offense going early on and the Browns couldn’t avoid turning the ball over.
Things began to pick up a bit in the second half however.
The Browns were able to find the end zone early in the 3rd quarter under their back up quarterback Kevin Hogan and took a 7-3 lead. This presumably awoke the Jets and their need for offense if they hoped to avoid an embarrassing loss.
Josh McCown then flicked on the switch after a forgettable first half and drove the Jets down the field on multiple drives. He was able to sling a nice deep-corner TD to Austin Seferian-Jenkins after the Jets set up good field position on their second interception of the day. McCown later found Jermaine Kearse down the sideline for a 24 yard score, which was ultimately the nail in the coffin.
The Browns looked to rebound quickly but were limited to only a garbage time TD by Duke Johnson late in the game.
So while the Jets dodged a bullet for their third straight win, the true headline of the game was the mere ugliness displayed by both teams:
Jets: Ground game a no factor
Most thought the Jets running back committee would have a field day against the Browns on Sunday. Nope. The Jets couldn’t get anything going on the ground as the offensive line struggled to make room for them all day. Rookie Elijah McGuire lead the Jets with 20 rushing yards on 11 attempts after Bilal Powell suffered a calf injury late in the first half. Putrid numbers for a committee that looked stellar last week against Jacksonville.
Browns: Turnovers/missed opportunities lead to loss
The Browns would have run away with this game if it weren’t for their three turnovers and two missed field goals. The Jets were able to force two turnovers (one INT and one on downs) on the Browns while they were in the red zone.
Jets: Offensive line didn’t show up
As previously mentioned, the Jets O-Line couldn’t do anything for the Jets running attack, but they also couldn’t do much to protect their quarterback. Josh McCown got hit with three sacks on the day, including two from Myles Garrett, the first overall pick in 2017 who was making his NFL debut on Sunday against the Jets. In total, the Jets O-Line allowed seven quarterback hits, and five tackles for loss. Rough numbers for the Green & White.
Browns: Quarterback struggles continue
DeShone Kizer couldn’t make it through the full game as he was benched for Kevin Hogan after the first half. Kizer’s season-long struggles continued as he went 8-17 for 87 yards and an interception. He currently leads the NFL in interceptions.
Hogan came in and played decent against a tired Jets secondary. He finished 16-19 for 194 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. The Browns are facing quite a dilemma with the most important position in football.
Jets: Rookies come up short
The Jets cherished child Jamal Adams didn’t have his normal day at the office despite the secondary having a solid overall performance. While he finished second on the team in tackles, he also had his fair share of missed ones in coverage, including a big one that allowed the Browns to score and go up on the Jets early in the 3rd.
Elijah McGuire struggled as well as he looked to replace Bilal Powell in the running game. While it wasn’t entirely his fault (more O-Line and play calling), McGuire could have done more to produce. He scrambled while looking for holes in the defense, but was ultimately not able to get further than seven yards on a carry.
Out of all the rookies, Marcus Maye may have had the best day. He finished with four total tackles, a pass deflection and his first career interception. He was a lone spotlight among the young Jets core.
Jets: Penalties make for a long game
The Jets couldn’t take their foot off the accelerator when it came to penalties on Sunday. They were very fortunate the Browns didn’t capitalize on their silly mistakes.
The #Jets have more penalty yards (45) than total yards (35). They have more penalties (6) than first downs (3).
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) October 8, 2017
The Jets will need to quickly fix many of their issues that surfaced on Sunday if they hope to have any shot next week against New England.
The Browns will need to decide which quarterback they will run with for the rest of the season, leaving major questions for how they will attack the 2018 Draft if presented with another top pick.
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